Feeding sugar after honey extraction
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  1. #1
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    Default Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    This sort of practice is seen as controversial amongst the general public; my experience with selling to people, is that feeding the bees sugar is a primary concern.

    I'm not sure why feeding bees sugar is deemed controversial. It is a fact that bees are unable to receive the required nutrients from sugar, but would the bee's health and well-being suffer if they've been fed a small amount of sugar after a honey extraction, which would happen a few times a year?

    If the bees are fed sugar, I believe they can then make honey out of it. Does this create an inferior honey product, compared to if the bees created honey from nectar? Is this the main concern of the general public when they ask whether the bees was fed sugar? Is this a risk even if the sugar has had water added to it, turning it into a paste?

    Do any of you guys actually feed sugar to your bees after an extraction, or do you just leave sugar feeding when the bees might potentially starve otherwise? I believe it's popular to feed sugar paste to a split, or captured swarm in a nuc, as they can use the sugar to build wax. Might this practice be good also when going to provide a new super for a preexisting established hive, which has frames that hasn't been drawn out yet?

    I'm also interested in good methods in actually feeding sugar paste. I see that there's many ideas and approaches, but a lot of them involve using an alternative lid, with a hole on the top with a bottle that slowly drips sugar paste down to the bees. I don't check my bees regularly and have a limited supply of lids, so I'm apprehensive of doing this. In the past, I've added sugar paste to cup cake sachets, and I've placed these on the bee mate inside the hive. It seemed to work but it was inefficient as the cup cake sachets could only contain a small amount of sugar paste (as it had to have a shallow amount to prevent bees from drowning).

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    From wikipedia:

    Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance produced by bees and some related insects.[1] Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or other insects (aphid honeydew) through regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation.

    Processed sugar, while originating a plant product, does not meet this definition. Read the thread "Making good honey" that appeared on BS just a week or so ago. Sorry, I can't post the link.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Duplicate
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Here is the link to that thread; https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ing-good-honey Within this thread I posted another link that explains many different feeding scenarios.

    Tread lightly though. I tried to make a joke and was summarily flamed.

    If you want to search, use the term syrup or sugar syrup. That will get a lot of results.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Opinions are like noses.... Mine is if you think a colony will have a better chance of survival after a harvest from feeding (to stimulate a bigger population to take full advantage of pre winter flows) and you don't it's poor management.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  7. #6
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    Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthAussieBeekeeper View Post
    It is a fact that bees are unable to receive the required nutrients from sugar
    Are you sure this is a fact and not an opinion?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Feeding bees is an emergency management practice. You should leave them enough stores to winter on. If they seem too light in the fall, then feed. I use sugar bricks as emergency winter feed. Haven't lost a single hive since I started this practice 4 years ago. Just my thoughts
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    We are able to overwinter in dbl deeps with no supers. If the Fall flow ever fails I will probably have to feed, but so far so good.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by gcolbert View Post
    Are you sure this is a fact and not an opinion?
    Honey and sugars are mostly an energy source for bees. Yes nectar is supreme but not by the margin many think. Now protien that is something else all together. That is where the macro and micro nutrition comes from.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    I fear the OP lacks a basic understanding of honey bee nutrition and the entire aspect of feeding. Attached is an informative guide titled "Fat Bees, Skinny Bees", produced by the Australian govt. regarding this topic. I learned a lot from reading it.

    05-054.pdf
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    I'm not sure whether it's a fact or opinion. I have little knowledge on all this. I'm under the impression that, sugar has almost no nutritional content other than the energy component of it, whilst honey has a little bit of nutrition.

    I do lack a basic understanding of all this JWPalmer. I've scanned over the first chapter of that .pdf, thanks for it. Not sure if it'd be worth to read over in detail as it's quite long, but I've already learned somethings.

    Could feeding bees when there's no flow coming in, maybe with a mix of dye so that it can easily be visually spotted if stored, be an effective approach? What about before Spring hits, to encourage end of winter brood production?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by beeman2009 View Post
    Feeding bees is an emergency management practice. You should leave them enough stores to winter on.
    Not necessarily. If you donít mind feeding and all that goes with it, sugar is .35 lb and up. Honey sells for $7 lb and up....
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Yeah I also don't agree with that. Feeding seems to be a sound approach when raising up a small swarm or split as it can be used for wax production.

  15. #14
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    Plumas County, California, USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    SouthAussieBeekeeper, welcome to the forum.

    The general public may find the issue controversial, and they may also be misinformed. There's a lot of awareness now about honey from some Asian countries that is poor quality--it's either sugar syrup honey or it is adulterated with additives and syrup after it is collected and ten shipped off to be sold cheaply in supermarkets.

    Depending on location, climate, forage, feeding may be necessary for some beekeepers and not for others. The stage in the life of a hive also plays a role. As you just said, in a new hive, feeding is pretty much necessary early on unless there's a great flow. Even for an established hive, early spring feeding may be necessary to help them survive that last month or even week. Depending on daytime temps, though, feeding might be liquid or in paste or candy form. Also, if it's been a poor year for nectar, or it's still a first year hive, feeding may be necessary in late summer and fall to make the hive strong enough to live through a long and cold winter. What I am seeing this year (which is only my second year) is that with an established hive it's a different story tan with a new hive, depending on a number of factors--flow, swarming, number of bees, left over stores, etc.

    I stop feeding when the honey supers go on. I'll do a later fall feeding if necessary after the supers come off for the last time.
    Year 3
    Zone 7b 3500 ft.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    South, feeding both nectar and pollen as the bees come out of winter will stimulate brood production. It is best to have a few days get above 12įC so the bees can make cleansing flights. If you feed, you need to manage for swarming earlier than normal. Dying the sugar syrup is ok but not really necessary unless you will be feeding some hives while you have supers on other hives. As brooding starts to build up in early spring, the bees will consume a huge amount of stores. If you have leftover syrup in the hives, slow down feeding once nectar becomes available. They should have it mostly gone before it is time to put on the supers for honey. Many hives actually starve in the spring because the hive is very active before any pollen or nectar can be foraged. You should attempt to read at least most of Fat Bees, Skinny Bees. It is specific to your continent and well worth the time.
    All the best,
    John
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    I don't think anyone has a problem with feeding bees that need it. It's people overfeeding going into and during a flow and then selling that as honey, or open feeding, especially during a flow that is objectionable.

    If you're feeding hives, nucs, swarms, splits or whatever use robber screens if there is a danger of them being robbed by your neighbors bees.

    A little bit of common sense and common courtesy goes a long way.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee's Bees LLC View Post
    ....... Now protien that is something else all together. That is where the macro and micro nutrition comes from.
    As well from nectar - the micro-nutrition.
    Just think how little iodine one needs - and yet it is a mandatory micro-nutrient for long-term human health.
    Minute amounts matter too.

    Short-term - you can live on white pasta alone, nothing else.
    You can even do this for months if must.
    But there will be some price to pay later.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    I don't think anyone has a problem with feeding bees that need it. It's people overfeeding going into and during a flow and then selling that as honey, or open feeding, especially during a flow that is objectionable.

    If you're feeding hives, nucs, swarms, splits or whatever use robber screens if there is a danger of them being robbed by your neighbors bees.

    A little bit of common sense and common courtesy goes a long way.

    Alex
    +100, Alex.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Like all things beekeeping, a lot depends on local conditions. In our area the bees spend a good chunk of the winter confined to the hive in cluster. Our fall flows produce honey with a fair amount of solids in the honey, which is a problem for bees that will spend 2 or 3 months confined to the cluster, can cause dysentery in a colony that doesn't have an opportunity for relief flights. To combat this, we take off the fall honey then replace it by feeding syrup which is free of the particulate. Feeding fall syrup is part of our winter survival strategy because it's better for the bees than the honey they make themselves.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar after honey extraction

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    ......Feeding fall syrup is part of our winter survival strategy because it's better for the bees than the honey they make themselves.
    OR you do not harvest early honey.
    OR you do take early honey off and store it; then put it back in/on.

    Late honey, indeed, is often inferior for the wintering.
    This is true in many regions.
    And yet the keepers take all the early honey for themselves; then they take all the late honey because it is bad for wintering; then they feed sugar because it is "best for the bees".
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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